I’m so thrilled today to Interview Lizzie Chantree who writes beautiful books that make you laugh out loud!
I was introduced to Lizzie and her books by fellow Author Isabella May, and I have never looked back! Thank you Lizzie for agreeing to sit down with me today for this interview.
Q: What inspires you to write your books?
A: I’m inspired by my readers. I’m so lucky to have the readership I have and the messages I receive telling me that people are enjoying my stories, or that they have resonated with them, makes me want to grab a pen and keep writing. I tend to write the first twenty thousand words of a new book by hand, but my handwriting is atrocious!
Q: Is there any truth in the storyline of any of your books that relates to your own life?
A: My stories are all about entrepreneurs. I ran my own retail and wholesale business for over fifteen years, until I had to give my business up due to my daughter being unwell (she’s fine now). I wrote books to keep anxiety at bay and hid my first book in a cupboard for five years until my daughter’s health began to improve. Now I get to try out lots of different and zany ideas through my characters and it’s fun to see what mischief they get up to! I have a completely different career that I didn’t expect and writing my first book helped me to overcome dark times and step into the sunshine. It’s also why I fill them with beautiful locations and laughter, to hopefully help others who might need to step away from stress or reality for a short while and relax.
Q: What have been your favourite moments of being an author?
A: I love my readers! They are full of goodwill, support for my writing and they inspire me every day. Being an author can be isolating, but I very rarely feel alone as I have a community of writers, bloggers, readers and beautiful creatives around me. When I started out, I was completely unknown as a writer, but people began reading my books and telling others how much they enjoyed them, which helped me find an audience for my work. It takes a lot of time and effort to post blogs, write reviews and share news of books you enjoy and I really appreciate every single mention.
Q: What motivates you to keep writing?
A: My family and readers motivate me. If someone tells me a character or storyline has made them feel less isolated or has made them laugh, then I can’t wait to get back to my next manuscript. My family are a noisy and big group of people, many of whom run their own businesses. They inspired me to try new ideas and not to give up at setbacks, of which there have been many along the way.
Q: How do you come up with the plots of your books?
A: It might be an idea from running a business in the past, or by seeing how people interact with each other. It can be as simple as a few words spoken or a fleeting glimpse of a gesture. With my book, The little ice cream shop by the sea, the story grew from seeing an elderly lady crying in a café and a young waitress helping her. After the older lady had left, I asked the waitress if her friend was ok. The waitress said they’d never met before that day. It made me think about the kindness of strangers and the whole story grew from there. In my book, Genie and Ada are strangers at the start of the story, but despite their age difference and backgrounds, they become each other’s lifeline.
Q: Of all the books you have written, which would you say is the most special to you or your favourite and why?
A: The most special is my first book, Babe Driven. Writing the book helped me through very dark times when my child was unwell and it kept me awake so I could hear her breathing. I filled the book with exotic locations and sizzling men and women, to try and balance the worry and anxiety I was feeling. I also hoped that the book might also make another person smile one day and help them find some lightness and laughter too.
Q: Are there any characters that have felt so real to you that you feel you could keep writing about them?
A: I feel that way about all of my characters! They always manage to surprise me and get up to lots of shenanigans. Most of my books could have sequels and I am determined to write them one day. I’m currently writing my first series with a group of women who were friends from school and three devilishly attractive brothers from across the road.
Q: If you could choose to have an exclusive book club with three authors, dead or alive, who would you choose and what would be your ideal discussion to have with them?
A: I’d choose J. R. R. Tolkien, as The Hobbit made me want to run and grab every book I could at school, after I read it in an English lesson. I’d love to talk to him about his ideas and characters. Next would be Jane Austen, as her stories are incredible and I could read them over and over again. Finally, I’d choose Katie Fforde. Katie’s books are so much fun and each one is beautifully written. She’s such an inspiring lady. I’d love to discuss creativity and the compulsion to write. I’d also ask them if they had self-doubt and who their greatest support was or are, during their writing journey.
Q: What books do you currently have on your bedside table?
A: I always have a copy of Pride and Prejudice, plus I have three marketing books and a romantic comedy. I also have my kindle which is stuffed full of romance books, books about book marketing and novels that my author friends have written. I love reading a book when I know the author.
Q: What book is your latest, or releasing soon and can you tell us a little about it?
A: My next book is launching on the 6th May. It’s called Shh… It’s Our Secret and is about a very shy and introverted woman who has a secret that could alter the fortunes of her whole community. She feels misunderstood and underappreciated, but all that changes when a jaded music producer steps into the rundown café bar she works in and stumbles upon her secret. Violet has to overcome her fears to protect those she loves, push herself to leave anxiety behind and become the woman she’s always dreamed about.
Q: What is the kindest thing a stranger has ever done for you or said to you?
A: I’m so lucky that readers who have never spoken to me and who might have just found my work, reach out and tell me that my books have touched their lives or made them smile. It’s so kind of them to take the time to do that. One reader said she was laughing so hard she almost dropped her baby! I loved that she had contacted me to say she’d enjoyed my work (and that the baby had stayed safely in her arms). Another reader said, ‘Rarely has a book held my heart in its hands the way If You Love Me I’m Yours has. An incredibly uplifting romantic story that has had me laughing and crying over and over again.’ This review is something I come back and look at time and time again. It warms my heart.
Q: Lastly, something fun that our readers might not know about you?
A: I’m an award winning inventor! I invented a product called Runaway Spray, which is a ‘run or ‘ladder’ stop spray for hosiery. It’s the size of a lipstick and not tested on animals. I was one of the female inventors of the year awarded by Fair Play London and The Patent Office. I’m also allergic to chocolate!
Title of latest book: Shh… It’s Our Secret
Blurb of latest book:
Violet has a secret that could change the lives of everyone she knows and loves, especially the regulars at the run-down café bar where she works. After losing her parents at a young age, they are the closest thing she has to a family and she feels responsible for them.
Kai is a jaded music producer who has just moved outside of town. Seeking solitude from the stress of his job, he’s looking for seclusion. The only problem is he can’t seem to escape the band members and songwriters who keep showing up at his house.
When Kai wanders into the bar and Violet’s life, he accidently discovers her closely guarded secret. Can Kai help her rediscover her self-confidence or should some secrets remain undiscovered?
Book links: Lizzie Chantree.
Universal book buy link: The little ice cream shop: viewbook.at/IceCreamShopByTheSea
Universal book buy link: Networking for writers: viewbook.at/NetworkingForWriters
Universal book buy link: If you love me, I’m yours: viewbook.at/IfYouLoveMe-ImYours
Universal book buy link: Ninja School Mum: viewBook.at/NinjaSchoolMum
Universal book buy link: Babe Driven: viewbook.at/BabeDriven
Universal book buy link: Love’s Child: viewBook.at/Amazon-LovesChild
Universal book buy link: Finding Gina: viewbook.at/FindingGina
Universal link: Shh… It’s Our Secret: mybook.to/ItsOurSecret
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